Tag Archives: beans

Forgotten Minestrone (100th Post!)

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Yaaaay! I’ve finally hit 100 posts on this blog! I’ve been writing since the end of September last year, and it’s nearly July now. I love the motivation to try new things that this blog has given me; every week is a new adventure. I’ve met some great people along the way, as well… food bloggers, recipe testers, professional chefs, and home cooks. The food is great, too. :) Here’s to another 100 delicious posts!

I’ve been doing a lot of slow cooker recipes lately. They work well with my busy schedule; I love being able to add a bunch of things to a pot, leave it alone, and come back in several hours to food. Today’s recipe is super easy, very nutritious, and yields a huge quantity. My slow cooker was literally full to the brim!

I only made one change to the ingredient list: in respect of the low-carb guidelines I’m trying to follow, I omitted the pasta. Please feel free to include it if you would like.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean beef stew meat
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 2 tablespoons minced dried parsley
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • 1 (16-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to top

Directions:

2-crockpot

In a slow cooker, combine the beef, water, tomatoes, onion, bouillon cube, parsley, salt, thyme, and pepper.

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or until the meat is tender.

3-pull_beef

Remove the meat to a plate, and pull into shreds using two forks.

4-add_veggies

Return the meat to the slow cooker, and add the zucchini, cabbage, and beans.

Cover and cook on high for 30-45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

5-finished

Serves 8.

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Southwest White Chili

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I played with this recipe a little bit as I was making it. I began by adjusting the quantity of beans: my supermarket didn’t carry 19-ounce cans, and I felt a bit silly leaving half a can of beans sitting in the refrigerator. This led to me increasing the amount of green chiles (wouldn’t want that flavor to be weak), adding more onion, and increasing the amount of spices. I’m very happy with the result, and I think I’ll keep the rewrite. This chili is a win in my book!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 (4-ounce) cans chopped green chiles
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans white kidney beans, drained
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • Sour cream to garnish

Directions:

2-chicken

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the chicken and onion in the olive oil for 4-5 minutes.

3-broth

Add the chicken broth, green chiles, beans, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, cilantro, and red pepper, and reduce the heat to low.

Simmer for 2-3 hours, adding water as necessary.

4-finished

Serve topped with sour cream and green onions.

Serves 4-6.

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Bulgarian Monastery Bean Soup

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Today’s recipe is an excellent illustration of why one should hire a recipe tester before publication – or at least do some basic logic-oriented proofreading! There are poorly-worded directions, ingredients out of order, and an entire set of instructions which go nowhere and leave the reader hanging. No bueno, my friends. Muy mal.

Ingredients out of order are a large problem for the home cook. It is very annoying to read through a recipe, begin cooking, and then realize that something is missing. Preparation instructions are also important. I would like to point out to the publisher of today’s recipe that carrots are round. You do not cube carrots. I know that this is a small detail, but details are important.

The most notable problem with this recipe involves the preparation and addition of the paprika. The technique described is borrowed from Indian cooking, and is called chaunk: spices and seasonings are fried briefly in a small amount of oil to enhance their flavor, and then added to a dish. This recipe totally screws up the concept. The amount of oil used is WAY too much: 1/2 cup?! If I actually added this much oil to a soup, it would be disgusting. 1 tablespoon would have been sufficient. Still, even with a corrected amount of oil, the recipe has a still larger problem: after the instructions to prepare the paprika in oil, there is absolutely NO further reference to said paprika or oil whatsoever! If I had made this soup precisely according to the recipe, I would have ended up with a pot of somewhat inoffensive soup, and a skillet full of red, burnt oil sitting on my stove until the cows came home. Not acceptable, recipe publisher. You fail the test.

I chose to avoid the paprika-oil-chaunk problem altogether, and simply add 1/2 tablespoon of paprika directly to the soup. The resulting flavor was pretty good, and I would make this again – my rewrite, not the original.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried lima beans
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, or 1-2 tablespoons dried mint
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • Parsley to garnish

Directions:

In a large pot, soak the beans in water for several hours.

2-carrots

Bring the water-covered beans to a boil, and add the onion and carrots.

Boil for 30-45 minutes, or until the beans become soft.

3-mint

Add the mint, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for another 15 minutes.

4-tomato_paste

Add the tomato paste, paprika, and salt, and simmer over low heat until ready to serve.

Serve warm, and garnished with parsley.

5-finished

Serves 6-8.

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Smoky Pasta and Bean Soup

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Thanks to everyone on Facebook and elsewhere for the birthday wishes! One of the awesome things I received was a camera upgrade; my old camera was top-of-the-line when I bought it, but that was in 2004. The new model is super easy to use, and takes great pictures. I still have a few recipes to work through which were photographed with the old camera, but expect better photography to filter in over the next two weeks. I’m excited!

I am sometimes cautious about serving soup for dinner; I don’t want to leave anyone hungry, and some soups are a little on the wimpy side. Today’s dish is far from wimpy: it is hearty, wholesome, and permeated with the wonderful flavor of bacon. The recipe gives the option of using either macaroni or “other small pasta”. I chose to use miniature farfalle, because I feel that they are more interesting to have in a soup than macaroni. :) Everybody does macaroni. Why not be a little different?

I modified the quantities of the canned ingredients in this recipe. It’s a little inconvenient to measure canned ingredients by the cup. How many cups of any particular ingredient are in a can, anyway? Isn’t it dependent on packing? And what about the leftovers? I find it much simpler to simply add however many cans are required. I measured the can contents myself before modifying the recipe, and the modified amounts given below are pretty close to what the original recipe called for. No more half cans of tomatoes sitting in the fridge!

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 (16-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (16-ounce) cans white beans, drained
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cups macaroni or other small pasta
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese, optional

Directions:

2-bacon

In a large skillet, sauté the bacon over medium heat until it is cooked.

3-add_veg

Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and red pepper to the skillet, and sauté for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables become soft.

4-add_tomatoes

Add the tomatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes.

5-add_liquid

Add the beans and chicken broth, and bring the mixture to a gentle boil.

6-add_pasta

Add the pasta and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender but firm.

Top with Parmesan cheese if desired.

7-finished

Serves 8.

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Cowboy Beef and Beans with Roundup Bacon Biscuits

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The range’s filled up with farmers and there’s fences ev’rywhere
A painted house ‘most ev’ry quarter mile
They’re raisin’ blooded cattle and plantin’ sorted seed
And puttin’ on a painful lot o’ style

There hain’t no grass to speak of and the water holes are gone
The wire of the farmer holds ’em tight
There’s little use to law ’em and little use to kick
And mighty sight less use there is to fight

There’s them coughin’ separaters and their dirty, dusty crews
And wagons runnin’ over with the grain
With smoke a-driftin’ upward and writin’ on the air
A story that to me is mighty plain

The wolves have left the country and the long-horns are no more
And all the game worth shootin’ at is gone
And it’s time for me to foller, ’cause I’m only in the way
And I’ve got to be a-movin’—movin’ on.
— Robert V. Carr, “The Old Cowboy’s Lament”, 1908

105 years after the poem above was published, its words ring true. Gone are the days of wagon trains and cattle drives; the 405 Interstate and the trucking industry run that territory nowadays. The era of the cowboy is no more. Still, images of rope and saddles, horses and open country, resonate in the American imagination. There is something about the old idea of freedom, of space enough for everyone to live without rubbing up against their neighbors, that quietly awakens a longing for the “Wild West”.

For those who yearn for a simpler time, for outdoorsmen and women seeking good “campfire food”, and for home cooks who want to serve a hearty, robust meal in the manner of our Western forebears, I present the following recipe. It can be cooked in a single 12-inch cast-iron skillet if desired, or baked in a 13” x 9” casserole dish. The largest cast-iron skillet I own is 10 inches, so the “city folk” baking dish method is reflected in the directions.

The newspaper clipping shows that the original recipe comes from the Pioneer Brand. However, the newspaper chose to do its own rewrite of this recipe, which, while descriptive, was not particularly easy to follow. For this blog post, I rewrote the newspaper’s version for legibility and clarity. I also chose to slow-cook the recipe using dry beans instead of canned beans, using the conversion for dry beans to canned beans from Be It Ever So Humble.

Ingredients:

Cowboy Beef and Beans:

  • 1/2 cup dry red kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup dry navy beans
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pork and beans
  • 1 package brown gravy mix
  • 1 1/4 cups brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red habañero sauce

Roundup Bacon Biscuits:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 cups Bisquick
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

Directions:

For the Cowboy Beef and Beans:

2-beans

Place the dry red kidney beans and dry navy beans in a large pot, and cover with several inches of water.

3-cooked_beans

Boil the beans until tender, approximately 2 hours, adding water as needed to cover.

Remove from heat, and set aside without draining.

4-add_meat

In a large skillet, combine the beef and onions over medium heat.

5-cooked_meat

Cook the beef and onions until the meat is brown and the onions are clear.

6-add_beans

Add the beans and their liquid to the meat mixture.

7-add_sauce

Add all remaining ingredients (can of pork and beans, brown gravy mix, coffee, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and red habañero sauce) to the skillet, and stir well.

8-chili_like

Reduce the heat to low, and simmer this mixture for 2-3 hours, until it has a thick, chili-like texture. This takes time, but the flavor bonus is worth it.

15-meat_in_casserole

Remove the meat mixture from the heat, and pour into a greased 13” x 9” casserole dish.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and make the Roundup Bacon Biscuits.

For the Roundup Bacon Biscuits:

9-mix_milk

In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and milk. (City folk can use a whisk here, if they so desire.)

10-make_dough

In a large bowl, mix the Bisquick together with the milk mixture, stirring until it forms a ball.

11-roll_dough

Roll this dough out on a floured surface to a thickness of 1/4 inch. The dough should form a rectangle.

12-top_dough

Brush the top of the dough with the melted butter, and sprinkle with the bacon and cheese. This is an excellent time to call your cardiologist and frighten the daylights out of him or her, by the way.

13-roll_up

Roll up the dough, beginning at one long side.

14-slice_dough

Slice the dough into 1-inch slices.

16-top_with_biscuits

Place the slices on top of the beef and bean mixture in the casserole dish.

17-golden_brown

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown.

18-finished

Serves 8-10.

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